Thursday, January 29, 2009

Silver Lining on South Street

The economic meltdown has forced many business around the country to shut their doors and Philadelphia is no exception.  Luckily, for South Street and art enthusiasts, real estate developers Howard Lander and Steve Giannascoli of Triad Reality are offering use of their empty properties to reestablish South Street as a creative mecca.  The first five galleries will be operating before Easter with plans to begin a preview opening on Good Friday, followed by monthly Fourth Friday events.  

The current movement is reflective of the original South Street Renaissance in the 60s. Pioneers, Julia Zagar of Eyes Gallery and Bill Curry of Copabanana are mentoring the new art collective movement with help from their staffs and businesses.  Bill Curry reflected, "We were lucky to be part of the creative excitement back in the day.  Now a new generation has a chance to create new memories as great as ours."  

These endeavors are not only meant to inspire but also spur new business entities.  The current plan allows the artists to renew their leases under negotiations.  Initially, they will be pro-bona and good for two months with month-to-month renewals.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snacks from the 80s

I very recently received the forward, "You Know You're a Child of the 80s When..." I was suddenly reminded of my legging and sweater sets, judy blume books, and bad perm.  So you can imagine my childhood glee when I found the "Top 10 Foods of the 80s" list on   Glancing over the list harkens back to my Jem (truly outrageous!) lunch box and recess on the black top.  

Drum-roll please....
10. Jawbreakers
9.  California Raisins
8. Cool Ranch Doritos
7.  Tri-Color Pasta
6.  Orange Julius
5.  Equal
4.  Artificially Flavored Fruit Snacks 
3.  Tab Cola
2.  Lean Cuisine
1.  Capri Sun

What I would add to the list: Tasty Cakes, Pop Rocks, Pixie Sticks, Pepsi Clear, and that Bubblegum with the liquid center.  

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Inspire Me - Peace

"Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in you heart."


Ben & Jerry's renamed its butter pecan flavor to "Yes . . . Pecan!" for the month of January, honoring the uniting theme of "Yes We can" as a message celebrating America's opportunity for positive change.  The Vermont based ice cream company has pared with Common cause, a non-profit advocacy organization, founded for the purpose of helping citizens make their voices heard during the course of the political process.  Proceeds earned by "Yes Pecan" will go to Common Cause's Education Fund.  It's worth a drive to Manayunk for the scoop.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Better World Books

Many sources advocate renting a book from a library rather than buying.  Buy, maybe you like re-reading your novels, or want to rough them up over a long beach weekend, or maybe you're like me and it takes you an entire summer to finish a book.  If purchasing a book spurs pangs of guilt, try Better World Books.  For each book you buy Better World Books donates money - more than 4.5 million so far - to literacy projects around the world. 

Added Bonus: After ordering a book from the website, I received a chatty and gratifying customer service email that made me want to buy! buy! buy!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bye Bye Bunny

On February 18, 2009, most U.S. TV stations will being broadcasting only digital signals.  So what is a girl and the tv she had since age 10 supposed to do?  If you subscribe to a cable then, you're in the clear, and you pink tv can remain.  But, if you're utilizing those bunny ears, and your tv doesn't have a built-in digital tuner, you SOL, unless you subscribe to cable, buy a new tv, or get a digital-to-analog convertor box  for each outdated set.   Luckily, after all the bail outs, the federal government can still afford to offer $40 coupons for up to two boxes per household.  Visit this handy website to apply and keep your tv from turning into a planter (or an aquarium).  

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Clean and Green - Revisited

Allow me to introduce you to Shaklee's. While the company produces and sells a wide range of amazing organic products, I think Shaklee's Non-Toxic Basic H2 Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate is tops.  On top of being organic, it's a one-cleaner wonder. and scrubs everything from your stove to your many mirrors.  In addition to the Cleaning Concentrate, the hand soap and dishwasher detergent are just fabulous.  These products have really cleaning skills and don't solely depend on their organic status for your vote.  

Shop here.

Friday, January 23, 2009

So Sew Me.

Recently, a few friends and I have gotten pretty crafty.  Before you pass judgment on my new found hobby, I'm not the only one that's taken to sewing these days.  By way of example, Spool on South Street has recently become a new hot spot for 20 something philadelphians looking for a creative outlet.  The adorable store offers sewing and quilting classes, crafting events, and fabric that makes your mouth water.  For example, Amy Butler Fabrics - it's not for your grandmother - but rather, would look amazing for a tunic, a pillow, or a cute bag.  The patterns are utterly to die for.   

Also, blogs are sprouting all over the internet advising yuppies how to craft and sew their way to cute accessories, cozy apartments, and totally enviable clothing. Just start googling and instead of spending precious and slim savings on wardrobe or decorating overhauls that may be passe in a year (or by next season), invest some time (and not money).  If you don't know how to sew try a class or make an effort to learn yourself.  

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Fashion Message from Michelle Obama

Although I am still undecided about Michelle Obama's Inauguration outfits, my opinion greatly improved when watching the Today Show yesterday morning.  The Today Show interviewed the designers of both outfits, Isabel Toledo and Jason Wu, and I have to admit, I was inspired.  Both designers have budding careers which were immediately thrust into history when Michelle stepped out in their creative designs. Toledo and Wu, beamed on TV and gushed that seeing Michelle Obama wearing their label was a realization of the American Dream.  Kudos to the First Lady for choosing American designers who represent the achievement of dreams, and she did it in style.  

Furthermore, I must add, I was impressed to learn that Mrs. Obama wore J.Crew gloves and shoes.  What plays in the back of my mind is, "I'm every woman."

I'm looking forward to witnessing this presidential term for its fashion, adorable children, and the realization of that already overused word, "hope."  

Monday, January 19, 2009

Color your way to great nails.

You may or may not have heard of these new nail polish pens. Similar to paint pens, these nail polish pens allow you to click your way to a great manicure. Both OPI and Sally Hansen produce these beauty must haves. Unfortunately, I haven't heard the greates reviews of the OPI version and for that price I'm not willing to take any chances. But, if you are an OPI loyalist, give it a try. Reviews have declared both items worthy of a splurge.
My experience - while the nail pen didn't have the lasting power of a professional manicure, my manicure addicted mother did compliment my nails over new years.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Annie's Workout Plan

I think I look good, but could look great with a personal trainer, personal chef, and life coach. I need a swift kick in my not so perky rear - especially with a trip to Aruba (with my boyfriend's super skinny family) looming only 6 weeks away. But, my budget barely supports my gym membership. So how am I supposed let alone an Oprah type make over on a limited income?

Luckily, shape magazine's shape your life program can whip up a program to help you form life long healthy habits and accomplish your goals at the same time. While the meal menus are somewhat expensive and tedious, they are best used as a guide rather than an absolute.

Good luck!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Daily Meditation

Gleaned from a Meditation Book:

Life is full of dangers and risks and challenges. We can choose to meet them fearfully or in a spirit of welcome. To choose fear, to say, "I won't take that risk because I might lose," is to prevent ourselves from ever winning. If we welcome the danger, the risk, or the challenge, we acknowledge that life is made up of losses as well as victories, of gains as well as pain.

Perhaps, through a fear of losing, we are missing many chances for satisfaction.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wine? In a can?

Danielle introduced me to a new favorite: Sofia Mini.  These dandy little pink cans of sparkingly wine come with their own straw and just the right amount of cheer. Named after Sofia Coppola, daughter of film director and wine mogul, Francis Ford Coppoloa, in honor of  her marriage to director Spike Jonze, 1999, these cans are delicious and perfect for a BYOB.  When all the boys are chugging some brew, you can act like the classy lady you are, kick up your cole haan boots, and kick back a can of wine.  

If you can't locate these little dears at your wine & spirits, try here

Monday, January 12, 2009

In years past the B-word was always a bad, bad word.  That was, until a friend introduced me to Mint which is like Quicken hyped up on new-age steroids.  The website makes it easy to set a budget and keep tabs on your spending.  Expenses are calculated by linking the account to bank accounts, debit cards, and credit cards.  Saving is encouraged by colorful visual incentives and friendly cheerleader emails.  You can even keep an eye your credit card balances and those dreaded school loans.   While financial reality can be overwhelming, knowledge is power.  Maybe, you can finally show your dollars who's boss.


Thursday, January 8, 2009


Gleaned from a Women's Meditation Book:

When people make changes in their lives in a certain area, they may start by changing the way they talk about that subject, how they act about it, their attitude toward it, or an underlying decision concerning it.

Acting "as if" is powerful. It leads the way to a changed attitude, a changed woman. If we are self-conscious in crowds and fearful about meeting new people and yet act poised and extend our hands in friendship, we'll not only behave in a new way, but feel good about it, too. Each act we take in this way brings us closer to the woman we are behaving like. Each positive change we make builds our self-esteem. Realizing that through our own actions we are becoming the kind of women we admire gives us that strength, in fact, encourages the excitement in us that's needed to keep changing. Making positive changes in our lives is the stuff that comprises self-esteem. Each gain makes the next one easier to attempt.

I will accept an opportunity today to act "as if" I can handle a situation I used to run from.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cleaner and Greener

Several ways to keep your humble abode clean and green:

Ditch the paper towels. Instead, try using sponges, rags, or micro fiber towels. Micro fiber towels are super absorbent and claim to really grip grime and dust. Leave it to Target, they even make certain towels for different surfaces. I place my sponges in the dishwasher or microwave regularly to prevent the growth of gross bacteria.

Instead of using chemical filled clearness try using natural and simple cleaners instead. A 2002 U.S. Geological Survey study found that 66% of streams sampled contained disinfectants, and 69% contained “detergent metabolites” which have been shown to harm fish reproduction and cause breast-cancer cells to proliferate in test tubes.

Natural Cleaning Recipes:
Replace your counter wipes and spray with a recycled spray bottle filled with equal parts of water and white vinegar. Also, undiluted vinegar is great for those tough messes you would typically reserve for a more serious cleaning concoction.

Baking soda can easily replace scouring cleaners and naturally removes mystery odors.

Windex can be traded in for a spray bottle mixed with 1 cup of rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol, 1 cup of water, and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.

While you’re saving the fish, think of all the money you’re saving too. These natural alternatives are very easy on the wallet, just another reason to feel good about going green.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Have you laughed today?

"A day without laughter is a day wasted." (Charlie Chaplin)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

What? This Old Skin?

I am a dermatologist's worst nightmare. Sunscreen isn't my religion, I rarely moisturize, and, oh! the horror - I don't take off make-up before I go to bed. So, when my skin started freaking out exactly two months after my twenty-sixth birthday I started thinking carefree skin care was a thing better left with age twenty-five.

It made sense when I read the facts. In your 20s, skin cell renewal drops by up to 28 percent, dead surface cells are not as easily discarded, and on top of it all, external factors, such as pollution, are starting to have an effect. In other words, your skin is less equipped to hold onto it's natural moisture. Experts advise simple measures such as not smoking and watching sun exposure can have a positive impact on your complexion 10, 20, 30 years down the line. In fact, sun damage is responsible for 80-90 percent of skin aging.

But, where is a 20-something to begin? Luckily, the regime recommended by derms across the board is minimal and simple.

Use a mild cleaner to remove make-up and oil from the day.

Apply moisturizer with at least SPF 15 to your face, neck, and chest. Antioxidants are a recommended bonus as they help fight the radicals contained in things such as pollutions, detergents, smoke, etc. Antioxidants can also be found in produce and (!) wine.

At night, use a cream that hydrates, but is oil-free. A pea-size amount will go far if you focus on your eyes and spread the rest on your face.

An eye cream with spf will help to prevent those crow's feet.

Exfoliating once or twice a week with an exfoliant meant for the face is preferable. A light scrub will reveal more radiant cells and help aid a natural "glow." Many advise against a scrub that has natural elements as they are too abrasive for delciate facial skin.

While the economy tanks and we all make serious efforts to save, maybe one of the best investments you can make in your mid-twenties is in a solid skincare routine. Think of all the money you'll save on botox!

Friday, January 2, 2009

A Letter to Myself

Recently a friend happened upon an article in O Magazine, written by Phylicia Rashad entitled "Letter to My Younger Self." The article inspired my friend and I to think about what we would tell ourselves if we knew then what we know now. Thinking back on my college years or even last year, I can think of a million life lessons. But, most of all, I wish I could tell my younger self to live day by day and keep the future as a thought and not a focus. Even at twenty-six, I could use that reminder every now and then. What would you tell your younger self?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Healthier 2009!

Here are some articles that may aid a healthier 2009!

Resolution Roadmap for 2009

Getting a Head Start on Your New Year's Resolution